My backyard is a great expanse of wilderness that is part of a state park. The hundreds acres of forest that make up the forest provide me with the easiest escape from my everyday life. That is where I hike, cross-country ski, and mountain bike. It is where I find peace and tranquility when I can go no where else. For many years I have enjoyed many days in this practically private expanse of wilderness.
About 8 years ago as I was hiking through the woods in my back yard with my cousin and I came upon a new place that I have never seen before. It was amazing in that it was a perfect place to build a fort. The ideal spot was on a cliff situated on the hill in my backyard. At first I used to sit there just enjoying the view the cliff offered on the surrounding hills and taking in the amazing sounds and sights that nature has to offer.
After a while being the builder I am I had to do something in this promising area. At first being 8 years old, I was only able to manage a couple old branches straddled across some boulders with some bark on them. Looking back I know it must have looked horrible, but in the eyes of an eight year old it must have been genius, a wonder of the world. After a while I got bored with the structure and tore it apart. (that was very fun) In its place I built a better roof.
About two years ago I started the final renovation of the fort. This time around there was no playing around. I wanted to make sure to build a sturdy structure that will last a long time and still be a pleasure to look at and be in. I wanted to go above and beyond with my next renovation. For the first time I brought a saw into the woods to ensure the use of sturdy timber. One of the greatest improvements on the fort was the addition of the second floor. To build this I cut three trees about 6 inches in diameter and laid them across the boulders as beams. Then I proceeded to cut 2-3 in. diameter floor joists to complete the floor. Needing a sturdy roof I decided to use a single 6 in. diameter tree as a column to support the ridge of the roof. The column went through the second floor and 2 feet into the ground surrounded by rocks. I also constructed a pillar out of stones to support one corner of the roof. The other corners were already supported by other boulders. After installing the main ridge beam I put in rafters and finally the bark. I have spent many rain showers under the roof and am very satisfied with my work.
The Fort with the second floor and roof
The Stairs and the Aqueduct
In addition to building the fort I also built a stone staircase up the side of the cliff to ease anyones journey to my fort. Putting the stones into place was grueling work requiring the sacrifice of much sweat and blood. At one point I was almost complete with the stairs when I dislodged an enormous rock at the top of the cliff. I decided to use the rock in the stairs. This was an setback in that the rock ended up destroying half the staircase that was already built. The rock went tumbling down the cliff obliterating the part of the stairs it hit.
My most recent project at the fort is the construction of an aqueduct that will lead to my fort from a nearby stream. I blocked off part of the stream with a small dam and inserted a garden hose at the bottom. The hose is straddled across a small valley on top of pillars constructed form fallen branches. As soon as I have enough hose to reach my fort I will have clean running water.